Tuesday, 20 September 2022
Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them: “go to the lost sheep… And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:6-7)
Jesus’ mission to this world was that the world would be saved through Him (John 3:17). However, during His earthly ministry the Gospel was to be proclaimed to Jews first. But by His death and resurrection the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile was removed and the Good News of salvation is to be proclaimed to all mankind. Matthew 10 explains how Jesus called the disciples and sent them on their very first mission journey – to the lost sheep of Israel.
We, the disciples of Jesus Christ have been entrusted with the task of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. Today’s reading provides some valuable mission lessons:
Sent in power and authority (Vs 1): Before sending them on the mission, Jesus empowered his disciples to cast out evil spirits and to heal all disease and sickness. The risen Saviour – to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given (Matthew 28:18) gives us authority and endows us with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus final instructions in Acts 1:8 were to receive the power and infilling of the Holy Spirit and be His witnesses to the end of the earth. Receive His promise: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:19)
Sent on His mission (Vs 5-6): The disciples were ordinary men but Spirit-empowered and sent on a Heavenly mandate. The mission is the Lord’s and we too are called and sent under His authority as the ambassadors of Christ to fulfill the Lord’s work on earth.
Sent with His message (Vs 7): There is a specific message that we are called to proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ The good news of Jesus Christ is for a lost and fallen world— that people may respond, turn in repentance, believing in Christ to be saved.
Service of love (Vs 8): Jesus’ teaching ‘Freely you have received, freely give’, reiterates His words in Acts 20:35 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Our salvation, calling and every spiritual gift is given by the grace of God and we have nothing to boast of. As we have received, we are to give abundantly of our possessions, time and giftings. We are called to a service of love flowing from the heart of God through us into the lives of others.
The urgency of the mission (Vs 9): Jesus’ instructions on travelling light, carrying minimal provisions revealing the urgency of the mission. The coming of the Lord is very near and we have a short time to accomplish the mission. Let us labour faithfully and with urgency in the Lord’s vineyard.
Relying on His provisions (Vs 9): We are advised not to accumulate money or provisions for the journey. The underlying principle here is that God cares for us who desire to serve him and every provision we need for the mission will be provided by Him. We are to put our trust in Him alone and not on worldly possessions.
Prepared for the response (Vs 11-15): Jesus warns us that not everyone will be receptive to the Gospel message. While some may receive it with joy, others may be hostile towards you and reject the message. Whatever the response, be prepared do the Lord’s work with a burden for the lost.
He has placed us as lights in a dark world to be His witnesses bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. As we dwell on the greatness of His call and the urgency of the work, may we be challenged to labour diligently for the advancement of His Kingdom. How would you respond?
Thought: for “Whoever will call on the name of the lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Acts 10:13-14)